It’s hard not to know that Christmas is right around the corner on Black Friday. By now you have heard countless commercials on television, read the ads and maybe stood in line in the wee hours of the night to get the best deals the stores have to offer. When I was a kid we didn’t have the mega Toys”R”Us catalog to notify us that the season was upon us; we only had the fall JC Penney catalog.
So how did I know Christmas was near when I was a child?
My grandfather owned a grocery store and the holiday season was kicked off when people ordered fruit baskets to give as gifts. In his small grocery store they made hundreds of fruit baskets. Fresh fruit and nuts were creatively stacked, put in paper-wrapped boxes then wrapped in red or green cellophane with a bow. Fruit baskets originated from the concept that hunters and gatherers went out, gathered fruit and brought it back to their village to share with everyone. The cellophane packaging was added around the 1950s.
I remember our family receiving fruit baskets when I was a kid. I always claimed the grapefruit if there was one. What fun it was to receive a surprise fruit basket. Who doesn’t like opening the door to a fresh fruity basket of goodness in the dead of winter? More than the benefit of a healthy snack was the concept that someone made a choice to select you to do something nice for in the spirit of the Christmas season.
We are called in Philippians 2:3-4 to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”
It is easy to get locked on to our own interests during the holidays when we really want that new iPhone 7 and allow the serving of others to be an afterthought.
I challenge you to give your first fruits to God by making your “serving and giving to the others who need it list” before your personal Christmas lists this year.
Be bold, be generous and have fun.
There are so many ways to help others.
Maybe you will ring bells for the Salvation Army, deliver Christmas food boxes for a local pantry or buy gifts for an adopted family.
My recommendation is to pray first about where your blessings should go then write down your budget and giving goals.
What if every year you try exceed what you gave last year, even if just by a little? Whatever you do, put a plan in action and set a date to accomplish it.
Nothing is worse than having a case of the “I should haves” this holiday season, harboring guilt over not getting it done. There is no room for guilt during the holidays or ever because:
Romans 8:1 says “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
When you believe that Jesus is your Savior and repent of your sins, all of the guilt is taken away. No gift is better (even than a fruit basket delivered at your door during the holidays) than the gift of the Holy Spirit, but guess what? When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit comes bearing a BONUS FRUIT BASKET, the nine fruits of the spirit that we are called to live out.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 5:22-23:
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Fruits that are designed to be taken back to your village and shared. Yes, you should ring the bells or adopt a family, but if your family doesn’t have the resources to give physical items, you still have plenty to offer others this holiday season. What if all of us shared our spiritual fruit basket abundantly, practicing patience in the crowded lines at stores, kindness in the airport by giving someone our seat, self-control with our coworkers or gentleness at our Christmas gatherings this year?
I can’t think of any better gift for the world’s immune system this giving season than a shot of God’s own natural vitamin C.
Please share your favorite way to serve others during the holidays in the comment section.